Banana Fish – Ep. 4

Amazon screwed the pooch with simulcasting Banana Fish on time last week and I had other shows to deal with so that’s why I’m getting to this show later than I wanted to. I guess I could’ve just watch a fansub but I prefer watching things officially when I can so I chose to be patient. Oh well, I’m getting to the show now so moving on.

I’m finding death to be a very weightless quality in Banana Fish. Skip died way too soon for it to land emotionally and the same could maybe be said about Griffin. In this case, Griffin has largely just been a plot device, something to fuel and channel Ash’s rage and Max’s guilt and that’s really just about it. We’re only given dialogue and picture frames about what the man was like before he took his drug. It is unexpected to see him die this early (in the anime, maybe it took longer in the manga) but I can’t say I was shaken up since he wasn’t really that fleshed out as a character.

That being said, I think the impact Griffin’s death has on the narrative is at least compelling. Having the man dead does complicate things since had he fully recover, you’d have someone who could directly inform our heroes about “Banana Fish”. Now, it seems the trail got colder. All Griffin was able to provide was confirming that he ran into one of Dino’s men and that “Banana Fish” ties to that scientist working for Dino.

Ever since this anime started, I thought Eiji was completely out of his element and it seems that Banana Fish hasn’t forgotten that either. Ibe is right, staying in America would simply put Eiji in danger now that Dino is aware of him. It’d be safer to return to Japan and let Charlie and Jenkins take it from here. Obviously, that won’t happen if we are to have a story but you have to wonder how Banana Fish will be able to justify keeping Eiji around. I at least buy him not wanting to leave though. Considering what has happened so far, he owes Ash that much.

I’ll give this anime this much credit, Ash has been in prison a lot longer than I anticipated. He could get out next episode but he’s been there for two episodes and that should be considered long given how quickly stuff usually happens in this show. I kind of wish Banana Fish would lay off on the making every extra a rapist while Ash is imprisoned though. Yes, prison rape is a real thing but it’s happening so often that it feels like pandering at this point. At least Ash is fending for himself though and with a fork no less. I have to admit that was cool.

It appears that Ash’s relationship with Max has developed past the rough start it had from last episode. In spite of his guilt and fear for his life, Max is unable to leave Ash on his own, always on the lookout when he thinks the latter is in danger. Ash, meanwhile can’t bring himself to keep hating his on and off cellmate and he instead divulges all he knows about Banana Fish. I like to think Griffin’s death had something to do here. Having these two characters mourn over this unfortunate event is a bonding event in of itself but it may have also made them realize that rather than fight each other, it would better serve Griffin’s memory to take down a common enemy together. Considering how strong that enemy is, Ash needs all the help he can get if he is to win.

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